Activists, advocates applaud dismissal of bio-terrorism charges

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June 3, 2010

6/3/2010

"In a written opinion dismissing a charge of bio-terrorism against a 45-year-old HIV-positive man, Macomb County Circuit Court Judge Peter Maceroni ruled that the mere fact a person is HIV-positive is not enough to accuse him or her of unlawfully possessing a harmful biological substance.

"...'The judge very clearly rejected the notion that it was appropriate to charge some one who was HIV-positive under the bio-terrorism statute,' said Bebe Anderson, director of Lambda Legal’s HIV Project. 'I think the decision clearly sends a message that courts need to rule on facts, not fear.'

"And HIV stigma and fear is what drove the prosecution, Anderson contends.

"'These charges transformed a case that was about assault into something more nefarious — all based on the fact someone was HIV-positive,' Anderson said. 'It implies that having HIV makes some one inherently more dangerous than some one who does not. That simply isn't true.'"

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